Showing posts from October, 2011

Front kick: ankle chambered up or down?


I recently received two queries from Dave T on my article "Back to basics: the front kick". Because the queries raise quite important points I thought I'd canvas them more completely (and hopefully more clearly) as separate blog articles rather than as a reply in the comments section.

Dave's first question: ankle chamber

Dave's first question was as follows:"What is your opinion of the TKD style front kick where the ankle is fully locked so that the instep and shin are in one straight line and the toes curled up? At the chamber position, the feet points down except for the toes. For high targets, won’t this method give the maximum penetration?

I find that when using the karate method of the feet parallel to the ground during chamber for high targets, the sole or heel hits the target instead of the ball, thus removing a lot of the power from the kick. The position of the feet during chambering has to be adjusted for targets at different heights to …

Situational reflex: the key to martial effectiveness


In a recent post I discussed a query from a Traditional Fighting Arts Forums member, Emero, about how to deal with circular kicks such as roundhouse kicks, spinning kicks and crescent kicks. In particular Emero wanted to know how he could improve his responses to his master’s use of those kicks in sparring.

Clearly, the goal for a martial artist is to develop reflex reactions. Emero’s goal is to do better when sparring with his master. Specifically, he wants to move forward, at the right angle and at the right time, into his master’s circular kicks so as to negate their effect. He’s tired of “eating” them.

How can he get his body to do this in sparring?

Reflexive response

Clearly, Emero doesn’t have time to “think” about each kick as it’s happening. He needs to act subconsciously, reflexively, automatically - pick your own adverb. There simply is no time for logical “planning”.

In this regard Emero is no different to a tennis player who is trying to develop good gro…

Dealing with circular attacks


Recently a member of the Traditional Fighting Arts Forums, Emero, posted a query where he asked how one would defend against a spinning kick and a reverse crescent kick, pointing to the 2 examples below:

A video showing the spinning back kick

A video showing the reverse crescent kick

I answered Emero on the particular thread, but I thought the question was appropriate enough to pose, and answer, here in my blog - especially since it will feed into my upcoming article “Situational reflex: the key to martial effectiveness”.

Challenges in dealing with circular attacks

What Emero notes is that powerful circular attacks are hard to respond to. A linear attack is relatively easy to understand and can be dealt with by controlling the center line (a topic I hope to address in the future). But circular attacks don’t really respond to the same methods; for one thing, they don’t move along the center line, so controlling it does not yield the same benefits.

Now it is true that a simp…

Blocking with the “Goldilocks zone”


I have often spoken about what I call the “Goldilocks zone” - the optimal place on your forearm for intercepting and deflecting or blocking strikes and kicks. However it occurs to me that I haven’t even properly explained what I mean by that term.

As you will recall from the children’s fairytale, Goldilocks sampled three bowls of porridge at the bears’ house - one was too hot, one too cold, one just right. She did the same for the 3 chairs (one too small, one too big, the other just right) and ditto the beds (too hard, too soft, just right).

Astronomers refer to the “Goldilocks zone” in a solar system - meaning the zone ideal for liquid water and hence permitting life of the kind we know here on Earth; not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

So it seems to me that it is also quite fitting to refer to the portion of the forearm ideal for intercepting attacks as the “Goldilocks zone”.

A video in which I discuss the “Goldilocks zone” for blocks/deflections

The Goldilocks zone…

Refining your front snap kick


Further to my recent articles on the front snap kick, I thought I’d go through some of the finer points of how to do it. I hope this will be especially useful to beginners since this is the sort of information I found very useful early in my career.

In fact, I still have these points in the back of my mind every time I practice front kicks. I think it is important to keep trying to attain the unattainable - the perfect front kick, free of any extraneous movement before, during and after the technique.

The importance of refining your techniques

Why is technique refinement so important to the front snap kick?

There are 2 reasons:to avoid telegraphing your kick; and
to make your front kick as efficient and economical as it can be so as to maximize the force applied to your target.There is a high premium on both of these.

First, you don’t want to telegraph your technique at the best of times. The issue only gets more urgent when you are standing on one leg - as is the case wi…